From an interview in 2007:
When did you start walking?
My wife, Marjorie, and I did short bush walks together for
some years before her health failed. I started walking the
suburbs in January 2003
What gave you the idea to walk suburbs?
When my wife of 60 years died in November 2002, I knew that
I had to somehow keep going. I started walking some streets
in my home suburb, but soon found this a little boring and
switched to neighbouring suburbs. It just grew from there.
How often do you walk and for how long?
I walk every day unless it is too hot or too wet. Perhaps
I miss about 30 days a year. My average walking time would
be 85 minutes, including a one-minute stop every seven minutes
to let my leg aneurysm catch up. For May 2005, my pedometer
showed an average walk of 4.1km per day, but now my average
is just under 3km a day.
Do you feel safe walking around Sydney streets?
I’ve never felt threatened. This doesn’t mean
that a threat or assault won’t happen some day, but
5,000km of incident-free walking suggests that Sydney compares
well as a safe city.
Do you have a back-up crew?
One of my sons drives me to the suburb I’m doing and
if there is a steep hill, he drives me to the top and I walk
back down. Another son created and maintains the web site.
How do you keep track of what you’ve done?
My son types the name of every street, lane, park path, etc
on the computer and plots a course. As each street is finished,
it is deleted from the list of what is still to be done and
it is highlighted on the street directory map.
You don't seem to walk in alphabetical or area order.
What determines where you walk?
I like to have quite a few suburbs in progress at any one
time for variety. In the hot months I do coastal suburbs to
get the sea breeze. On fine days or at times of the year when
I don't have much else happening I do distant suburbs. If
there are things that must be done that day or I have an appointment
that I must get back for, I do closer suburbs. The nearest
ones to home I do on rainy days so that if I get wet it's
not long before I can get home to change into dry clothes.
On weekends I usually do industrial areas and highways or
other busy roads.
Do you get sick of walking?
No, but even if I did, my doctor tells me I must keep walking
if I want to stay healthy. On my last visit to the heart specialist
I was told that because of my walking, there is now every
chance I should live to 100. And so many people have emailed
me to say they have been inspired to get out and walk too.
This has been very encouraging for me. One thing about walking
is that you see so many unusual things that you miss even
if you drive past them numerous times.
What do you do when you’re not walking?
Until 2007 I still had some clients from my days as a full-time
accountant, but at 93 I am not seeking any more! I do cryptic
crosswords (my favourite clue was: how the widowed cannibal
felt about his nagging wife, the Roman soldier*) and play
What have been your favourite places?
I like water views, so ocean- and river-side suburbs are
high on my list. But I also like keeping an eye open for the
unusual, as you would see from the Secrets and Surprises pages.
My favourite suburbs for walking have included Watsons Bay
(especially the lighthouse track), Dover Heights, Dangar Island,
Waverton, Tamarama and McMahons Point.
*A Roman soldier was a gladiator (glad he ate her).